If you want to buy an Italian car, a German car or a car from any other country, we explain how much it costs to register a foreign car in Spain and all the formalities you will have to do.

The most favourable prices at the time of buying or a change of residence can make us drive a foreign car. So the question arises: when do you have to register a foreign car to drive in Spain?

The answer: provided that the vehicle is intended for use by residents or entities with a national tax domicile. So if you are going to reside in Spain and want to use your foreign car, you must register it.

We will tell you all the steps to register your car imported from abroad in Spain without problems.

Import a car into Spain

There are many destinations in Europe where you can get a cheap car. So, if you have bought a car abroad taking advantage of good offers from Germany or Belgium, or you have decided to change your country of residence and after a few months you decide to bring your own car.

In both cases, as the insurance companies that operate within the Spanish territory only provide policies to cars with national plates, the first step to be able to circulate with your foreign car in Spain is to change the plate. This obligation is also included in article 62 of Law 6/2014 on 7 April on Traffic, Motor Vehicle Circulation and Road Safety.

If you want to bring a car from the Canary Islands to the mainland, you will have to make the formalities through the shipping company that will be in charge of carrying out the DUA (Single Administrative Document) and asking you to pay VAT if applicable.

Steps to register your foreign vehicle in Spain

If the bureaucratic procedures are generally cumbersome and slow, the steps to follow to register a foreign car in Spain are no exception. Be patient and think about what you will do with your new car.

  • Gather the documentation you are going to need: the contract of sale of the vehicle – if a private individual has sold it to you it is not superfluous to ask for a photocopy of his passport, telephone number and place of residence -, the technical file of the vehicle and the certificate of conformity (COC), which certifies that the car fulfills the standards of quality and environment demanded by the European Union.
  • You will need to request a sworn translation of all papers into Spanish if they are in another language.
  • Study how it is cheaper for you to bring your car to Spain: road, boat, train…
  • Go with the car to an authorized agency to pass the Technical Inspection of Vehicles (ITV). It doesn’t matter if you have already passed other tests in another country.
  • Get the 576 model at your nearest tax office and pay the Special Tax on Certain Means of Transport.
  • If the car you import is from the EU and is new, at the same tax office take the opportunity to present the model 300 or 309 to pay or credit the payment of VAT or Transfer Tax (ITP) if it is second-hand and you have purchased it from a private individual. If you bought the car outside the EU, you must present the Single Administrative Document (SAD) that was given to you at Customs. To give you an idea, the customs procedure can be around 200 euros, in addition to paying 21% VAT.
  • If you bought the car from a company, you must present the invoice which clearly shows the intra-community CIF of the company.
  • Pay the Circulation Tax at the Town Hall where you are registered (the payment of this tax varies according to the town).
  • Buy the registration plates and you can make an appointment at the Provincial Headquarters of the Directorate General of Traffic (DGT). Present yourself with all the documents and pay the Registration Fee.
  • All you have to do is look for the best car insurance for your new vehicle in Spain. In Zurich we allow you to design it to your measure and always with the best coverage. With free roadside assistance from kilometre 0.

Documentation to register the car

Following the steps we have explained to you, here is the list of documents to present at the DGT. Don’t forget any!

  • The ITV card you passed along with copies
  • The car invoice or sales contract and its translation into Spanish
  • The liquidation of taxes, both the Special Tax on Certain Means of Transport and the VAT or ITP.
  • The registration application form you requested from Traffic.

How much does it cost to register a German or Italian car in Spain?

Germany and Italy are two of the countries preferred by Spaniards to buy second-hand cars. Being within the European Union, the cost of registering a German or Italian car in Spain is similar.

It will vary depending on the car you buy, but to give you an idea, the cost of most imports of foreign vehicles into Spain is around 1,500 euros, not counting travel costs (the price is considerably reduced if you buy an electric vehicle or a vehicle with a lower level of CO2 emission, as the registration fee to pay will be much lower).

If the car was previously yours and it is a change of residence, there are no more extra taxes to pay (VAT, ITP …). If you must pay the Circulation Tax as you would pay in any case.

What it costs to register a foreign car in Spain:

  • Sworn translation into Spanish of the sales contract and other documents if they are in another language.
  • Your transport and that of the vehicle.
  • Technical Inspection of Vehicles (ITV), obligatory even if the car has just passed a technical inspection in its country of origin.
  • Special Tax on Certain Means of Transport.
  • VAT, model 300 or 309 (if the car is new and from the EU).
  • Transfer Tax (if the car is second-hand and from the EU).
  • Circulation Tax.

Importing cars, expensive or cheap?

Displacement, Technical Inspection of the Vehicle (ITV), Registration Tax, Circulation Tax…

The formalities are many and the prices vary considerably depending on the model of the vehicle and its current value, whether it is new or second-hand, whether it is from inside or outside the European Union… The difference is so great that it can vary in thousands of euros, so take the time you need to do the math calmly.

If the price difference between a car in Germany and Spain is very small, it probably won’t pay off. If there is a lot of difference and you feel like doing the travel and paperwork, then you may be able to save on your purchase.